According to USA Today, a diabetes prevention program sponsored by the YMCA has helped people at high risk of developing diabetes lose 5% of their body weight.
In 2011, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gave YMCAs about $12 million to start the program, which includes ‘nutrition and fitness counseling and lifestyle coaching.’ And it has had a good amount of success.
The YMCA says that the Diabetes Prevention Program can reduce the number of new cases of Type 2 diabetes by 58% and 71% for those over age 60.
Additionally, since one of every three Medicare dollars is spent on patients with diabetes, the department of Health and Human Services says this program could be a critical step to reduce spending. The prevention effort saved Medicare about $2,650 per participant over 15 months, more than the cost of the preventive program. The program was funded by an $11.8 million innovation grant under the Affordable Care Act.
Diabetes is a serious problem
Diabetes is a significant threat in the U.S., causing one death every two and a half minutes. While 30 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes, 30% have pre-diabetes, meaning their blood sugar levels are higher which can eventually lead to diabetes. Additionally, people in this category are at greater risk of heart disease and stroke.
But, the good news is, the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes can be significantly reduced through healthy diet and exercise.
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell hopes the results of the YMCA program will inspire employers and insurers to offer their own prevention programs. She believes in moving from ‘treating the sick to preventing the illness.’
Edna Waller, 69, went down three dress sizes and no longer needs diabetes medication after going through the program herself at a local YMCA in Delaware.
If you want to find out if you are at risk for diabetes, take this quick assessment on the YMCA’s website here!